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Labour and the Greens cosying up

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 31/05/2016

HOW WILL LABOUR AND THE GREENS WORKING TOGETHER WORK?

Labour and the Greens have signed a memorandum of understanding to work co-operatively to change the government come 2017.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

The two parties will work more closely together at parliament - they might co-operate in question time and in select committees, or support each other's members' bills and supplementary order papers. Party leaders, chiefs of staff and non-parliamentary party representatives will hold meetings at least once a month. They'll brief each other on major announcements and speeches and they'll invite each other to party events - Andrew Little gets the ball rolling this weekend, speaking at the Greens' annual conference.

THEY'LL STILL BE SEPARATE PARTIES THOUGH, RIGHT?

Yes. In the first paragraph of the MOU it says Labour and the Greens will work co-operatively while respecting they are separate political parties.

WHY ARE THEY DOING IT?

Both parties agree that in an MMP environment, it's better to work together to try and change the government. Little says Labour and the Greens intend to build on the agreement and offer voters the basis of a "stable, credible and progressive alternative government". Metiria Turei says when the parties have worked together in the past, Kiwis have perceived them as a credible alternative to National.

WHAT IF THEY DON'T AGREE WITH EACH OTHER?

There's an "agree to disagree" protocol in the MOU. It says that while many of their policies are compatible, Labour and the Greens accept that as independent parties, there will be differences in specific policies and strategies. They support each other's right to express alternative views, but they'll discuss this with each other before getting involved the public debate.

WHAT ABOUT OTHER PARTIES?

Labour and the Greens say parties are welcome to join them, but the ball is in their court.

WHAT ABOUT THE 2017 ELECTION CAMPAIGN?

Labour and the Greens are investigating a joint policy and/or campaign in 2017, but no decisions have been made. In 2014, Labour under then-leader David Cunliffe rejected the idea of a joint campaign with the Greens.

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